You're probably asking yourself, "Should I worry about the new Coronavirus (COVID-19)? " and are wondering how it will affect you. Short answer: Don't worry. Worry won't help. However, there are a few easy actions you can take to calm your mind and be more prepared for any communicable disease...without feeling like a survivalist prepper.
How to Translate Worry into Action
After all the global news about COVID-19 as it's now called, many people are feeling a sense of unease and wondering if they're safe, not only from the virus but from the possible social effects of a pandemic viral outbreak. At this point, if you're not feeling some unease, then you're in the minority.
However, worry about the new coronavirus won't get you very far in a pandemic. So, being worried is counterproductive unless that worry moves you to take some specific and practical actions. I'm not a doctor or healthcare professional. Like most of you, without looking to the professionals, I wouldn't know what actions to take until it was too late.
I realized I wasn't very well informed on what to do in a pandemic, so I began doing some research to prepare myself and the people I love. It's a fact if COVID-19 doesn't become a pandemic, then another flu or virus will. It's a matter of when, not if.
Here's what I discovered about myself. See how many of these apply to you. I had no idea:
- How to identify the exact symptoms of COVID-19
- The difference between the flu and COVID-19 as far as symptoms and outcome
- What actions to take to prepare my household for a pandemic, running around panicked seemed very counterproductive, especially at the last minute
- If the government would try to keep me informed up to the minute or try to keep me from becoming panicked. I realized a pandemic could have a severe, long-lasting effect on the economy.
Out of Research Came a List of Specific Actions
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) Information
My first stop for information was the CDC site. I found Get Your Household Ready for COVID-19. This is a new posting by the CDC.
You can find more information about the virus at Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC and Coronavirus Disease 2019 from the World Health Organization. Yes, it's 2020, but the virus outbreak began in 2019. Information on the site is updated almost daily. You can find information such as "How It Spreads", "Symptoms" and "Prevention and Treatment. In addition, there are "Situation Updates" for the US and globally.
#1 recommendation? Wash your hands frequently. I can do that, I thought, but that seems like a pretty weak action for a potential pandemic.
What about the symptoms? Unfortunately, the symptoms as listed are few: fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Plus, the recommendation is to stay at home when you get the illness unless you need medical treatment. There is no treatment for the virus. Therefore, medical treatment would be for life threatening symptoms such as inability to breathe.
After reading the information from the CDC and WHO, it became glaringly obvious to me that I could be at home for an extended period of time. Either through catching the virus, where I was advised to remain at home, or through avoiding other people with the virus.
Both the CDC and other global areas I'd seen where the virus was active, recommended to avoid public places with large groups of people. From what I'd seen on the news, that could be as extreme as not attending any public place, even a restaurant.
Make a Checklist from CDC Recommendations for Specific Actions
I quickly realized I wasn't prepared to not go out in public for even two weeks. There was no recommendation for how long I should be prepared to stay at home so I decided to make sure I had enough essential items stocked for two months. I believe as long as I only stock up on items I would use anyway, I'm not wasting money or being excessively prepper.
Here's the stock up checklist I developed as a result:
- Herbal supplies to have on hand. (See more in the section below.)
- Food suitable for sick people in my household
- Frozen organic juice
- Non-dairy soup
- Normal food for healthy individuals and pets
- Normal household products such as napkins, tissues and toilet paper
- Products for managing the virus such as face masks*, hand sanitizer and household cleaners
Herbal Supplies in More Detail
I prefer herbal extracts and tinctures to over the counter medications. Since there are no medicinal preventive measures recommended by the CDC other than the physical measures of hand washing and maintaining a 3-6 foot distance from other individuals, I decided to stock up on my favorite herbal antivirals, antibacterials, immune boosting formulas and specific formulas for the lungs and kidneys.
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. Although it can cause a wide range of physical response and distress, the lungs and kidneys seem to be vital organs affected in cases where death resulted. For more information read the post Here's What Happens to the Body after Contracting the Coronavirus.
As a result, I chose herbs that are antivirals, soothing for the lungs, especially for mucus and coughing, healing for the kidneys, and to lower fever in cases where it was too high.
- Mullein for soothing intestinal support, to relieve congestion and coughing
- Olive leaf for its antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stimulating properties
- White willow bark for fever*
- Echinacea as an anti-viral
- Goldenseal as an anti-bacterial (avoid if hypoglycemia is present)
- Uva Ursi to support the kidneys (and liver)
* White willow bark contains natural salicin. Man-made salicin is the primary ingredient in aspirin.
These same herbal supplements can also be used for common cold, flu, etc.
Where to Find These Herbs Plus a Few More Supplements
I've provided a screenshot of exactly what I ordered from Vitacost to have on hand for myself and my family. Note that I already had some items such as Uva Ursi and White Willow, so I ordered less of those.
I also sometimes order from iHerb if Vitacost doesn't have something in stock. I find that Vitacost ships to my location much faster than iHerb. If both of these companies are out of stock, then I do a Google search for the product and find out who else is carrying it at that time.
I also always take a high potency probiotic any time I take Goldenseal and for a few days after I discontinue the Goldenseal. I already have two types of probiotics on hand so I didn't order those from Vitacost.
I like Garden of Life Once Daily Ultra, which has to be refrigerated, and Jarro-Dophilus from Jarrow Formulas which doesn't require refrigeration.
In addition, I also use Zand Zinc lozenges when I feel like I'm coming down with a cold. I haven't had a cold in over 30 years, and I believe zinc lozenges are the primary reason. I carry these with me at all times, and I've given away hundreds of them over the years. I like them because they're sweetened with brown rice syrup instead of sugar.
Finally, Vitamin C and A are always useful in times of physical stress. You can read what I recommend for these vitamins in my post My 7 Reasons to Supplement and Specifically What I Take.
Once again, I'm not a medical professional. I cannot advise you on what you or your family should take. However, I can tell you what I've chosen to have on hand for myself and my family.
How I Use These Herbs
For dosage and frequency, I follow the recommendations on the bottle.
As a Preventive
I use Natural Factors Anti-V Formula as a preventive. For me, it's good to boost the immune system to ward off viruses such as colds, flu, etc. I'm hoping it will have the same effect on the Coronavirus.
If you read the reviews about Anti-V Formula on Vitacost and iHerb, as I did when I was researching what to use, you'll find most of the people who use it have extremely good results.
During times when a virus is epidemic, I add the olive leaf to the Anti-V and take it, too. Since I don't like to be on any herb for more than three weeks in a row, I can also switch off between the Anti-V and the Olive Leaf.
To Reduce Symptoms
Once I've actually come down with a virus, I use the other herbs listed above for the purpose I have listed. I believe they help my body to overcome the virus and to help reduce symptoms of the infection.
I'm cautious about using the white willow bark. While it's basically good for anything I'd take man-made aspirin for without the stomach ache aspirin can cause for me, it's a fever reducer. I believe fever is the body's way to keep viral and bacterial invaders from replicating. As a result, unless I have a high fever, I do not use white willow to reduce fever.
So, if I don't have a fever, then I use white willow bark for headache, muscle aches and pain, and inflammation for example. If I have a high fever, then I use it to help reduce the fever.
I believe white willow bark is much gentler on my kidneys and liver than over the counter fever reducers and pain relievers. Since I've had kidney stones repeatedly, I believe my kidneys need to be babied. Also, COVID-19 may be harmful to the kidneys in some cases.
I like the echinacea / goldenseal combination if I have a virus to avoid secondary bacterial infection.
What Are You Doing to Prepare for COVID-19?
Maybe you don't worry about the new coronavirus outbreak because you've taken actions yourself. I've listed actions that work for me and my family. What are you doing to prepare? How do you feel about your preparations?